History Book Reviews (page 936)

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 30, 1992

"While their prose style can most charitably be described as serviceable journalese, the authors offer a damning, dirt-dishing bill of particulars on a corporate chieftain arguably not up to the task of running his own show. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)"
An unsparing and gossipy audit of James D. Robinson III's bumbling stewardship at American Express. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 27, 1992

"Jewishness that, ironically—given the title—seems more involved in discarding remnants than in saving them."
An eloquent exploration of the many facets of Jewish identity in America. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 27, 1992

"Frankland conveys the real tragedy enveloping Eastern Europe without closing his eyes or stumbling over the contradictions."
A whirlwind tour of Communist Europe during the last year of Communism, narrated with insight and restraint by English journalist and novelist Frankland (Richard Robertovich, 1988; Khrushchev, 1967). ``The tragedy of East Europe,'' according to Frankland, ``was that there were decent men among those who imposed Communism, and that it took so long for them to understand that they had taken a wrong turning to the promised land.'' Such understanding was bought at a high price: According to the author, ruined economies, ravaged landscapes, widespread disease, and chronic despair seem to be the only legacies of the old regimes now that the statues have come down and the streets have been renamed. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 25, 1992

"It is the care with which Browning examines the evidence, as well as the soberness of his conclusions, that gives this work such power and impact. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Chilling analysis of how a typical unit of German police actually operated during the Holocaust, by Browning (History/Pacific Lutheran Univ.). Read full book review >
OLYMPIA by Otto Friedrich
HISTORY
Released: March 25, 1992

"Rich, vivid, imaginatively organized—a 19th-century Bonfire of the Vanities, a true one, ready for the big screen. (Four pages of color photos, 12 pages of b&w—not seen.)"
Friedrich (Glenn Gould, The Grave of Alice B. Toklas—both 1989; City of Nets, 1986, etc.) now brings his rare historical imagination and narrative gifts to the art and politics, frivolity, eccentricity, and scandal of the Second Empire (1865-85) in Paris during the reign of Napoleon III. êdouard Manet's life is the frame, his art a recurrent motif. Read full book review >

THE JAPANESE CHRONICLES by Nicolas Bouvier
HISTORY
Released: March 23, 1992

"A superb guide, smoothly translated from the French, to the Japanese landscape and mind, and a delight for lovers of travel and fine writing. (Twelve photographs—most seen.)"
The ``best travel books,'' Bouvier believes, ``...are often written by people involved in commerce....Merchants' strict observations avoid the silly infatuations that will quickly take over the literature once poets start to travel.'' Happily, in this sensitive, acutely observed record of his stays in Japan, the author, a journalist who lives in Switzerland, disproves that statement with some of the most resonant and perceptive travel writing in recent years. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 23, 1992

"Noteworthy, but repetitive and rarely catching fire."
Richly researched broadside against the FBI's invasion of the rights of US writers to think for themselves; by the co-author of the Edgar-winning Savage Grace (1985). Read full book review >
HOW WE SURVIVED COMMUNISM AND EVEN LAUGHED by Slavenka Drakulic
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 23, 1992

"A sometimes sad, sometimes witty book that conveys more about politics in Eastern Europe than any number of theoretical political analyses."
A poignant and truthful look at what living under Communism was really like, by Croatian journalist and novelist Drakuli. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 20, 1992

"Historians and sociologists—and, probably, Jews and New Englanders—will find Goldstein's study useful and diverting, but its subject is too narrow for just about everyone else. (Twenty b&w photos—not seen.)"
A chronicle of Jewish settlement and assimilation in three Maine towns—Bangor, Mount Desert Island, and Calais—during the first half of this century, well told by a sociologist native to the region. Read full book review >
GEORGE BUSH'S WAR by Jean Edward Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 20, 1992

According to Smith (Political Science/Univ. of Toronto; Lucius D. Clay, 1990, etc.) in this volatile study, America's adventure in the Persian Gulf War was not a crusade for freedom but a checkpoint on the personal agenda of George Bush, who disregarded constitutional restrictions on presidential power and cynically manipulated the public, the press, Congress, and even the military. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 20, 1992

"A curate's egg of a book."
A fitfully enlightening exploration of the political transformation of the former Soviet satellites, by Goldfarb (Political and Social Science/New School for Social Research). Read full book review >
DISMANTLING THE COLD WAR ECONOMY by Ann Markusen
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 19, 1992

"Unlike their well-documented, organized, and compelling analysis, though, their broad prescription lacks confidence-building details."
This worthy successor to Seymour Melman's exposÇs of military dominance of the American economy names the central, driving segment of the military-industrial complex—the ``Aerospace, Communications, Electronics (ACE) Read full book review >

Upcoming Kirkus Interview

April 28, 2015
Mona Eltahawy

In her debut book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, Egyptian-American journalist and commentator Mona Eltahawy mounts an angry indictment of the treatment of women throughout the Arab world. Born in Egypt, she spent her childhood in London, moving with her family to Saudi Arabia when she was 15. Her shock was immediate and visceral: “It felt as though we’d moved to another planet whose inhabitants fervently wished women did not exist,” she recalls. Women could not travel, work or even go to a doctor’s appointment without male approval. We talk to Eltahawy this week on Kirkus TV about her arresting new book.